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Rising through the ranks

SCV man, 29, to become new local postmaster

Posted: April 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Gabriel Magdaleno, who is set to be sworn in as the postmaster of the Santa Clarita Post Office Friday, stands in a room at the post office. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo.

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When Gabriel Magdaleno was a kid, he enjoyed accompanying his grandfather to the Van Nuys General Motors plant, where Camaros and Firebirds were then built.

Magdaleno would watch his grandfather build the muscle cars, which he did for 30 years. And at the age of 10 the youngster began to formulate his own career path.

“Seeing him at a young age, working his career all the way to retirement, set the tone for me to want to have a career with stability,” said the now-29-year-old Santa Clarita resident.

His grandfather wanted him to pursue a career in the same field, but such opportunities left the area with the closure of the GM plant in 1992 after 45 years of producing cars.

Magdaleno retained the dreams fostered by his grandfather but took them in a different direction: Starting as a mail carrier in 2003, he decided to join the Postal Service right out of high school.

The job supplies the security he was looking for, Magdaleno said in a recent interview with The Signal, along with opportunities to rise through the ranks.

And rise Magdaleno has. On Friday he will be sworn in as postmaster of the Santa Clarita Post Office, one of the largest offices in the nation in terms of both number of employees and geographical territory. At the age of 29, he will be one of the youngest postmasters in U.S. Postal Service history. Most postmasters are in their late 30s or 40s when they reach that position.

Magdaleno became manager of customer service at the North Hollywood Post Office in 2011, and the following year he became officer in charge of the Burbank Post Office. In 2013 he moved his family to Santa Clarita, where he was named officer in charge.

He is credited with improving parcel scanning accuracy, installing self-service kiosks to reduce customer waiting time, and piloting so-called 4/10 work schedules.

“At this point in my career, the increased responsibility is the rewarding factor,” Magdaleno said in the interview.

“I have a glass-half-full mentality. It’s flourished now because I look at everything as a positive, an opportunity to fix something or improve something.”

While Magdaleno is proud to take over as postmaster in his home town, he doesn’t plan to end his climb up the Postal Service management ladder in Santa Clarita.

He hopes to take his career to a national level by becoming a headquarters executive within the next five years, a position in Washington, D.C., overseeing mail delivery at a national scale.

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